(Bloomberg) — The United Nations climate summit concluded with landmark agreements on compensation for poorer countries affected by global warming and plans to mitigate the effects of climate change.
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But many delegates were upset that little progress was made on some other major goals, including stronger commitments to curb the use of fossil fuels and to limit warming to 1.5C by the end of the century.
“Why are we celebrating loss and damage when we have failed on mitigation and adaptation?” asked Aminath Shauna, Minister of Environment for the Maldives. “We are just a meter above sea level — I want my two-year old daughter to live in the Maldives.”
The fractious summit has taken place against the background of a global energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and exposed fault lines on how the world should navigate the transition away from fossil fuels.
(All times Egyptian.)
Kerry Says Hope of 1.5C Is Alive (3:57 p.m.)
US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry said COP27 has “kept the hope of 1.5 alive.”
The International Energy Agency calculated after COP26 that if all the commitments and initiatives put forward by Glasgow were fully implemented, global warming could limit to 1.8 degrees, according to Kerry.
“One year later, as we depart Sharm el-Sheikh, the IEA now tells us that if the new commitments and actions announced here are fully implemented, we can limit warming to 1.7 degrees,” he said.
Kerry said that’s something participating nations “can be proud of, even as we recognize we are just getting started.”
The US official said he’s happy to have held climate discussions with China in Egypt and that those talks will continue.
Beyond COP27, priorities include continuing to press for all major economies to align their 2030 targets with 1.5 degrees, delivering finance for climate action at scale and work closely with the United Arab Emirates, which will host COP28, according to Kerry.
Tuvalu PM Condemns Lack of Progress on Emissions, Methane (8:59 a.m.)
Kausea Natano, prime minister of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, one of the places most threatened by rising sea levels, condemned of the lack of agreement on limiting emissions and fossil fuels.
“It is regrettable that we haven’t got strong language included in the cover decision before us on phasing out fossil fuels,” Natano said. “It is regrettable that we haven’t got text on peaking of emissions before 2025. It is regrettable that we haven’t managed to get stronger mention of methane emissions reductions.”
UK’s Sharma Criticizes ‘Last-Minute’ Dilution of Energy Goal (08:27 a.m.)
Alok Sharma, UK lead negotiator and president of last year’s COP in Glasgow, called the progress on loss and damage a “historic decision,” but condemning the failure to deliver on the mitigation goal. He said the final text did not include a clear follow-through on phasing down coal or fossil fuels and a “last minute” addition weakened the energy element — a reference to language that allows a transition to “low-emission” sources, which some argue could mean natural gas.
“This is not a moment of unqualified celebration. Many of us came here to safeguard the outcomes we secured in Glasgow and to go further still,” he said. The 1.5C goal “remains on life support.”
Ministers Praise ‘Implementation COP’ for Delivering (7:31 a.m.)
Pakistan’s Climate Minister Sherry Rehman said reaching a ‘historic consensus’ on the establishment of a loss and damage fund was a response to “the voices of the vulnerable, the damaged, and the lost of the whole world.”
“We have struggled for 30 years on this path and today, in Sharm El-Sheikh, this journey has achieved its first positive milestone. The establishment of a fund is not about dispensing charity. It is clearly a down-payment on the longer investment in our joint futures. It is a down-payment and an investment in climate justice.” said Rehman, whose home country now chairs the group of G77 and China. “You promised an implementation COP and you delivered an implementation COP.”
Meanwhile, Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s environment minister, said he was speaking on behalf of the African continent when he celebrated the decision to create a loss and damage facility. Nzovu also praised the work program adopted for mitigation activities, echoing Rehman’s comments that the summit had been billed as an implementation COP and “it had delivered.”
EU’s Climate Chief Slams Excuses on Lacking Climate Ambition (7:26 a.m.)
Frans Timmermans, the European Union’s climate chief, said COP27 failed to close the gap to reach the target of keeping global warming below 1.5C.
“The world will not thank us when it hears only excuses tomorrow,” he said. The COP27 decision “does not address the yawning gap” of action needed to meet the temperature goal.
After a turbulent week for the bloc, including a threat to walk away from the talks, He said the EU did not want to scupper the compenstion facility for loss and damage to fight for more ambition. But he said the world would have to do a lot more to meet the 1.5C goal.
Focus in Loss and Damage Detracted from Work on Climate Action (7:20 a.m.)
The Egyptian president’s focus on the loss and damage fund detracted from work on climate mitigation, said Norway’s climate minister, Espen Barthe Eide.
The final Sharm El-Sheikh declaration does not contain an explicit reference to phasing down fossil fuels or peaking emissions by 2025, Eide said, but it does contain a stronger mitigation work program than had originally been outlined.
“We have a work program which is not bad,” he said, adding that the language does not backslide from the accord reached at the COP26 summit last year in the Scottish city of Glasgow. “The ambition does not scale down from Glasgow,” he said.
Germany Hits Out At Oil Producers for Weak Emissions Ambition (7:10 a.m.)
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, said countries failed to agree on stronger emissions cuts due to “an alliance of and oil-rich countries and major emitters.” While she welcomed the deal on a loss and damage facility she said the world was losing valuable time to move toward 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Walkout Threats Were Dropped Because Egypt Ran Down the Clock (7:00 a.m.)
Multiple country representatives said that they aren’t happy with how the process played out. A series of documents were passed through without interventions, including the political decision. Matters were closed but left unresolved, however countries chose not to intervene because that could have risked the loss and damage deal, which all parties were happy with.
Loss and Damage Fund Key to Rebuild Trust Between Countries: Guterres (6:50 a.m.)
COP27 has taken an important step toward climate justice, UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a video statement as the meeting came to a close. The establishment of a loss and damage fund is a step toward rebuilding trust between developed and developing nations, he said.
“A fund for loss and damage is essential,” Guterres said. “But it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map, or turns an entire African country to desert.”
Small Islands Vulnerable to Sea Rise Celebrate Loss and Damage Win (6:00 a.m.)
The Alliance of Small Island States, a group of low-lying coastal and small island countries, praised the unanimous support for a loss and damage fund. “A mission thirty years in the making has been accomplished,” said Antigua and Barbuda Minister and chair of the AOSIS group of small island nations, Molwyn Joseph. “Our ministers and negotiators have endured sleepless nights and endless days in an intense series of negotiations — but after the pain comes the progress.”
Climate Groups Disappointed by Lack of Ambition on Fossil Fuels (5:46 a.m.)
“While progress on loss and damage was encouraging, it is disappointing that the decision mostly copy and pasted language from Glasgow about curbing emissions, rather than taking any significant new steps,” said Ani Dasgupta Chief Executive Officer at the World Resources Institute. “It is mind-boggling that countries did not muster the courage to call for phasing down fossil fuels, which are the biggest driver of climate change.”
Scientific Community Quickly Praised Loss and Damage Deal (5:42 a.m.)
“This is a big win for climate justice that gives hope to the many millions in the Global South on the front lines of a rapidly worsening climate crisis not of their making,” said Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the climate and energy program at the US non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists. “By taking this step in solidarity with climate-vulnerable countries, the US and other rich countries have begun to restore the trust and credibility necessary for nations to tackle this global challenge together.”
Delegates Adopt Thorny Issue of Scaling Up Mitigation (5:26 a.m.)
Countries approved another element that had proved a thorn in negotiations in recent days: the mitigation work program. When talks looked close to collapse Saturday morning, the European Union highlighted weak language on scaling up ambition. Subsequent revisions clearly allayed those concerns.
Concerns Rise Over Missing Items in the Draft Political Document (5:21 a.m.)
There was frustration from some ministers who had been pushing for a commitment to phase out fossil fuels and peak emissions by 2025 — language that was nowhere to be seen in the draft political document.
Norway’s climate minister, Espen Barth Eide, said he was working to see how other countries felt about the omission. “It’s not the strongest we would like it to be but it does not break with Glasgow,” Eide said.
Loss and Damage Facility Formally Adopted (4:15 a.m.)
COP27 delegates agreed to establish a loss and damage facility, a key demand of least developed nations and small island states. Under the agreement, particularly vulnerable countries would be prioritized, while high emitters like China and India may also be able to contribute to the fund. The decision was passed without objections on the floor.
–With assistance from Laura Millan Lombraña, Salma El Wardany and Mirette Magdy.
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